“Swipe Right for the Old Fashion” – An Argument for Abandoning Online Dating
24 Hours Before Our First Date. Communicating via Tinder Messenger:
Jane: Hey, how’s your day?!
Me: Not bad, excited about our date for tomorrow. How’s yours?
Jane: It’s great. I’m totally excited about our date tomorrow. See you soon😊
2 Minutes Later
Jane: Frank, darling. I have a silly question, but I need to ask it. How tall are you?
Me: 6 foot (I rounded up by an inch). How about you?
Jane: I’m sorry, this is not going to work out. I’m 5’1, and I need someone close to my height.
Me: Haha. You’re kidding, right?
Jane: YOU MESSAGE WAS NOT RECEIVED DUE TO BEING UNMATCHED
I’m sure everyone reading this whose experimented with Tinder, Match.com or any one of the other slew of dating apps and sites has encountered similar cringe-worthy situations such as the one above. Or maybe you had one worse than that. I had one with a woman who came drunk to the date, orders a few drinks and then ditched me with the bill by saying “Excuse me, I have to call my maintenance-man” on a Friday night.
Dating, in general, is tough, awkward and painful; it has been since the dawn of man. The invention of online dating has advertised the convenience of finding love through online profiles and by swiping left or right. But has dating apps and websites made finding love convenient or has it castrated the beauty of courting?
The Thrill of the Chase
Eons of mating, thousands of years of our ancestors courting each other by facing rejection with their heart in one hand and flowers in the other has been boiled down to hiding behind a screen.
Courting was meant to be nerve-racking for both sexes. Men will get instinctually nervous because they fear that their ability to provide, protect and be physically attractive won’t be good enough for the woman he is chasing. Women get nervous because they fear that they will get rejected for their attractiveness and personality. Both sides have different challenges when it comes to dating, but both are equally difficult; it was supposed to be like this.
We’ve evolved to find a mate that will complement our personalities, resources/ability to obtain resources, physical attractiveness, and the essence of who we are. This is a daunting task, and it does require courage to go up to someone you fancy and ask them out. We’re meant to find love like this. Yes, rejection hurts, and it may hurt for many reasons. One could be that you lack in a specific area, an example of which was the rejection I encountered when I went through a brief time of being unemployed. The harsh truth is that women want a man with a job (the ability to obtain resources). But some rejections do not make any sense, and they may have nothing to do with you as a person; such as the silly and shallow rejection at the beginning of the article.
Dating apps are robbing us the lessons of courting because we’re no longer facing rejection head-on. We hide our flaws through picture filters, elaborate profiles and messages that are well-thought out and not spontaneously honesty. We put an illusion of ourselves onto social media instead of fully embracing who we are or making the healthy changes necessary to find love.
Another issue is that the app user may have unchecked expectations. Meaning, we let our desires and imagination build up an unrealistic expectation on who the person is; which is natural because we do it to a degree with people we start dating, blinded by infatuation. But the most significant difference would be people getting catfished by someone who they never met. They were lured in by intimate conversations through emails and phone calls, and the sweet promise of love; only to find out the person was a façade for an ugly lie. Although there can be telling signs that the person online is a con, we can easily delude ourselves because of the powerful allure of love.
Too Many Options
All those options, all the people you can right swipe on or have been matched to, is it a bad thing to have too many options? Yes. It may seem counterintuitive but having too many mating options can be as bad as having too few. A cognitive phenomenon called choice-overload happens when an individual is overwhelmed with too many options. They begin having cognitive dissonance over the choice made, looking back and feeling that they could’ve made a better selection or that there is a better alternative not explored.
For example: Let’s say you were matched with a woman, we’ll call her Helen, and she seems genuine from her profile. Helen’s pictures aren’t edited to be flattering, and she was engaging when you were messaging with her. You decided to give it a shot and meet her for a date. Helen is awkward but endearing, and her ass is not as round as you hoped it would be, but you are starting to like her. Then the feeling of regret and dissatisfaction coming from the notion of a second date. Despite Helen’s flaws, she’s was fun to talk to, beautiful to look at and is interested in who you are as a person; but you have other options. Other women who may fit an unrealistic or high expectation you have in your head. You feel if you commit then you may have missed out on a “better” woman. So, you don’t ask her out for a second date and get back on your phone to start looking for the next match.
Another example of the harmfulness of too many options is keeping your options/doors open. Let’s say you decided to start dating Helen. But you stay in contact with previous dates or matches. Not because you were friends, but you like the idea of having an option to fall back on. It’s a smart strategy for a business or a military operation to have contingency plans in place, but it’s harmful and disingenuous for dating. It’s harmful because you won’t allow yourself to embrace the moments with Helen fully; you may hold back and not enjoy the time of connecting with another human being. It’s disingenuous because of what happens when Helen does find out. The betrayal she’ll feel because she took a risk on you, but you continued talking to other women because you didn’t think she was enough. She may do her best to hide the pain but the seeds of mistrust are sown, and they will only grow in time.
A Meaningful Connection
There is an intimacy, a beautiful creation of a memory when you make a move on the person you desire. The first moment you notice her is in the produce aisle of Publix. Her fair skin and ginger hair makes her stand out like a brilliant rose in a field of grass. She looks up and catches your gaze, and you give a quick smile to her, and she smiles back. Not an ordinary smile. Oh no, her smile is a spark of light on a dull day as it brings your heart to a race and invites you to her. You have your doubts though. Was she smiling just to be kind or was she doing it because she is feeling the same about you? You silence your self-doubt by telling yourself “fuck-it” and walk over to her. The fear of rejection is replaced with the thrill of success as she gives you her number and say’s yes to the date. A memory, a wonderful sweet memory was created because you took a risk to connect with another person.
This is what finding love supposed to be about — the risks, the failures that make that one special moment in time meaningful and unforgettable. Though romantic movies and novels capitalized and distorted this, it doesn’t make it less real. There is a beautiful moment when you risk the awkwardness of rejection, and its pay’s off unimaginably.
Even rejections can be wonderful moments because they are lessons about who you are and who the other person is. It may have been you, may have. Or it could have been her. She might have been in a bad place in her life, she wasn’t interested, or she didn’t know how to respond. So many reasons why so much nuance but all are worth the risk in finding out.
Online dating and dating apps are robbing us these moments. They’re taking away the exhilaration of asking her out and the sweet yes. They’re taking away the creation of a beautiful memory which can only be borne from taking a risk face-to-face and living in the moment. A moment that musicians, artist, and poets created art for because they understood how powerful it is when you first meet someone worth taking the risk for. You are robbing yourself of this moment if you hide behind a screen and your doubts.
A Goodnight Kiss
Are there benefits to dating apps and websites? Absolutely, they do they have their merits. They can be beneficial for introverts who are genuine and well established but may feel comfortable using online dating as a start to an encounter. Then there’s the professional whose career may hinder their ability to meet people such as a traveling businessperson, an overworked doctor or a secluded farmer. Or homosexuals whose community may not have a high gay population/enough options; then online dating may be the best option. The same could be the same for someone who has a mating preference for Jews, Muslims, Hispanics or other specific socio-cultural preferences. But the same argument could be made for going to a gay bar, a Latino restaurant or a religious service. You have to make yourself available for the opportunity to find another person.
The game of love was never meant to be played from behind the screen. It’s a game where people get emotionally hurt but the lessons won is used to find the person who you were meant to love. In the end, dating is a painful and challenging game, but it’s worth playing. To quote Charles Bukowski, “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.” Guys, buy the flower and ask her out. Ladies, write your name and phone number on the restaurant napkin and give it to the cute guy you’ve been eyeing. The game of love was meant to be played in the moment.